My name is Adam Dukovich, I am 31 years old. I was born with Cerebral Palsy which is a condition that affects my muscles, it makes it harder to control my muscles, and I have quite a bit of spasticity in my muscles as well. Having Cerebral Palsy, I was able to try a few different para-sports, but the one I felt I excelled at, and became very passionate about was Boccia.
Boccia is a strategic game that is very similar to curling and lawn bowling. It is a Paralympic sport that was adapted originally from the Italian game of Bocce Ball for athletes with more severe disabilities. Boccia is played with six red balls, six blue balls and a white ball, called the jack. It is usually played indoors on a gym floor, or sometimes even an arena floor. Boccia can be played in teams, pairs or individuals. There are four ends in an individual game and the scoring is most similar to curling; you get a point for each ball closer to the jack than your opponent’s.
It is with great pride I have represented Canada for the past 9 years and it is my honour and privilege to continue to doing so. I have been to 18 international events, including the Para Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and two Paralympic Games; 2008 in Beijing, China and 2012 in London, England. I have had a lot of success on the international scene. I am most proud of my Bronze medal finish at the 2010 World Championships in Lisbon, Portugal and my Gold medal at the 2011 Para Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. My highest international ranking was number 3 in the world, when I headed into the 2012 Paralympics.
I'm currently preparing for the 2014 World Championships which will take place in Beijing, China. This tournament can help me qualify for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, Brazil. To prepare for this tournament I train 6 days a week on court, I do mental prep everyday, and I also go to the gym 3-4 times a week.Unfortunately, Boccia is a very expensive sport. To give you an idea, replacing a set of Boccia balls (they do wear out, and break), can cost upwards of $700 and it is common that an athlete replaces their equipment a few times per season. My expenses will exceed $5500 prior to departing for Beijing. This includes transportation, hotel, sport assistant, training facility, gym rental and equipment
I try to support my sport at all levels. At the regional level, I sit on two city club boards; on both these boards I act as treasurer. At the provincial level, I am the Athlete Rep of the Ontario Cerebral Palsy Sports Association, our provincial sport governing board. In this role, I help to represent the needs of our Ontario athletes. I am also a member of the national athlete council that helps to communicate the concerns of the national level athletes to the national governing body of Boccia, the Canadian Cerebral Palsy Sports Association. In addition to being a member of these boards, I am nationally a certified Technical Delegate, which allows me to organize and run tournaments. One of these tournaments is Boccia Blast, which is a nationally sanctioned event that is held every year in London, Ontario.
My involvement in the many aspects of Boccia, beyond participation, not only reflects the passion I have for the sport, but also represents an investment into the sport itself -- with hopes that it can benefit others as well.